Downplaying the Fact That Apple Shot ‘Scary Fast’ With iPhones

Jess Weatherbed, writing for The Verge under the headline “Here’s What Apple Really Means When It Says ‘Shot on iPhone’”:

It’s a neat way to promote the recording quality of iPhone cameras, but it’s not like everyday folks can recreate these kinds of results at home unless they happen to own a shedload of ludicrously expensive equipment. The gear shown in the “Scary Fast” behind-the-scenes footage is fairly standard for big studio productions, but Apple’s implication with these so-called “shot on iPhone” promotions is that anyone can do it if only they buy the newest iPhone.

I saw a few folks mocking Apple for this on Mastodon and Threads, too. This is ridiculous. Do these people think that previous Apple keynote films were shot with just a single camera person wielding something like a $40K RED cinema camera and no crew, no lighting, no cranes? That the iPhone “needs help” that traditional cinema cameras do not? I mean, guess what, they used professional microphones too.

Apple occasionally points out that they make all their software — iOS, MacOS, Safari and Webkit, Final Cut, the iWork suite, Photos and Camera … all of it — using Xcode, Swift, Objective-C, and the AppKit, UIKit, and SwiftUI frameworks that they offer free of charge to all developers. Pissing all over Apple for using expensive production sets for their keynote shoots while promoting the fact that they shot it using iPhone cameras is like pissing on Apple’s developer offerings because a lone developer or small team couldn’t create an entire operating system or non-linear professional video editing system.

The whole point is that an iPhone 15 Pro camera is so good that it can fit right in on a high-budget commercial film shoot, and produce world-class results. There’s no implication that a casual user can get results like this by just hitting the shutter button in the iPhone Camera app. That’s why Apple made an entire behind-the-scenes documentary! To show us what it takes to make something look this good.

Why be so cynical? What Apple has accomplished here is extraordinary. They shot a 30-minute film using the same phone cameras they sell to hundreds of millions of people around the world, and the footage looked so good that no one could tell it was shot using iPhones until they told us so.

This is Apple at its best: they make tools for us, using those very same tools themselves.

Tuesday, 31 October 2023